By Harold Ford Jr.
The success of almost every small business today, including the ability to contribute to economic growth and generate thousands of new jobs, often hinges on the ability to capitalize on new online tools. Yet more than 1 million Ohio residents and businesses lack high-speed internet access. If all Ohioans are to enjoy the benefits of the digital revolution, Congress should enact bipartisan policies that encourage continued investment in internet infrastructure to expand broadband access in Ohio’s rural communities.
An essential component of most business plans now includes a strategy for leveraging a company’s online presence. Whether for marketing purposes or ecommerce tools that allow businesses to operate long after their brick and mortar has closed for the day, successful small business owners increasingly rely on online tools powered by high-speed internet access.
There remain rural pockets that still need new investment and deployment. The problem is particularly acute in Ohio, where 60 percent of the land is used for agricultural purposes and geographic and physical barriers make it harder to connect many rural communities with the range of internet services others enjoy.